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62 MLAs suspended from Andhra House

All floor leaders of these parties, barring TDP president and leader of the opposition N Chandrababu Naidu, were suspended.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2006 05:21 IST

Sixty-two members belonging to five parties, including the Left allies of ruling Congress, were on Monday suspended from Andhra Pradesh Assembly.

The members faced suspension for two days for stalling proceedings alleging large-scale "irregularities" in the controversial Sripadasagar irrigation project.

It was first time since the Congress came to power in the 2004 elections, with the Left parties' support, that the members of CPI and CPI (M) were suspended from the House.

Amid noisy scenes, marked by slogan-shouting and storming of the Speaker's podium, the members belonging to the main Opposition TDP, CPI, CPI-M, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) were suspended and marshals were called in to evict them from the House.

At the crux of the furore was the alleged inflation of the cost of the Rs 900 crore project to the tune of Rs 400 crore to benefit certain private contractors.

The issue, which had rocked the House last week, was raked up again by the Opposition as soon as the House assembled for the day, with the Left parties insisting on taking up their adjournment motion on the matter.

Waving placards and raising full-throated slogans against the Rajasekhar Reddy government, the TDP members frequently rushed to the podium and stalled the proceedings, prompting Speaker KR Suresh Reddy to adjourn the House briefly.

The situation, however, showed no signs of subsiding after the House re-assembled with the Opposition members storming the well.

Amid uproarious scenes, Legislative Affairs Minister K Rosaiah moved a motion suspending the members after they refused to leave the podium, despite government's assurance that it would make a statement on the issue.

Among the suspended members, 30 were from TDP, 14 from TRS, 7 CPI (M), 6 CPI and 5 from MIM.

After the Opposition members left the House, the Chief Minister intervened to assure that no (no) irregularities were committed in finalising the irrigation works.

Asserting that his government was committed to maintaining transparency in implementation of irrigation projects, Reddy said a detailed statement on Sripadasagar project, designed to benefit the backward Telangana region, would be made in the Assembly in a couple of days.

Turning the tables on the Opposition parties, particularly the TDP, he said they were trying to hold the House to ransom by distorting the facts.

The TDP, he alleged, was bent upon creating hurdles in the way of ambitious irrigation projects and demoralising the officials involved in their implementation.

The Chief Minister urged the Speaker to allow a detailed discussion on the issue after the government's statement.

Earlier, Rosaiah rejected the Opposition demand for placing the files pertaining to Sripadasagar project before the Speaker on the ground that such a course was not warranted.

He advised members to seek any information under the Right to Information Act.

Meanwhile, protesting against the government's 'high-handed approach', the two-member BJP staged a walkout.

First Published: Mar 06, 2006 16:06 IST